- An activist involved in campaigns rooted in racial and gender equity, she got her start in the movement for social justice at the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.
New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has hired community organizer and social justice advocate Sasha Neha Ahuja as co-manager of his campaign. Ahuja is currently Chief of Staff at Girls for Gender Equity and Chair of New York City’s Equal Employment Practices Commission. The New York Times reports that Ahuja’s “elevation to the role came as a result of an apparent leadership shake-up within the campaign in the weeks leading up to Mr. Yang’s entry into the race.”
The Times report added that Yang’s recent hire was earlier critical of him during his presidential campaign in 2019 when a gender discrimination case against him surfaced. Citing the case Times said that Yang had fired Kimberly Watkins, one of his former employees at the test-prep company he once ran. She had accused Yang “of firing her after she got married, allegedly because he thought she would not want to work as hard,” the Times report said.
Expressing her support for Watkins, Ahuja then tweeted: Last night, @GenderEquityNYC held a public hearing on #PayEquity and Kimberly Watkins testified that Presidential Candidate @AndrewYang fired her after she got married because she wouldn’t want to work as hard. Wish I could say it was unbelievable.”
On Feb. 12, Ahjua released a statement, according to the Times. “When I heard the testimony in 2019, I was taken aback,” Ahuja said. “It’s incredibly important for us to listen to the experiences of all people in the workplace, especially those who tend to experience discrimination most frequently. It is also important to make sure all sides are heard and promote a workplace culture that is inclusive and committed to equity.” Referring to her role in Yang’s campaign, she said, “That’s why when I had the chance to work for Andrew and build that type of culture on a mayoral campaign, I jumped at the chance and am so excited to be here.”
As per Ahuja’s profile on the Commission on Gender Equity, she has worked to lead advocacy efforts and campaigns rooted in racial and gender equity. She got her start in the movement for social justice almost 15 years ago at the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. “Since then, Ahuja has built her career facilitating community-driven policy change in government, in the labor movement and at local and national progressive organizations,” the profile said.
She previously served as Deputy Director of the Policy Division at the New York City Council under former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito “where she helped New York City respond to a national call to action to invest in cis and Trans girls of color.” In that role, designed and executed the New York City Young Women’s Initiative (YWI), a participatory policymaking process to lift up young women and girls of color, engaging +200 advocates, senior officials across City agencies and the Mayor’s Office.
Ahuja is an Adjunct Instructor of Social Policy at several schools of Social Work across New York City. She holds a BA from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College and a MS in Social Work from Columbia University.